Eritrea president calls Tigray rights abuse claims a ‘fantasy’

Nairobi (Caasimada Online) – The Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki dismissed allegations of rights abuses by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray region during the two-year war as “fantasy.” 

The President stated that these allegations were merely part of a “factory of fabricating misinformation” aimed at disrupting the peace process in Ethiopia and creating conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

War in Tigray and Eritrean involvement

The war in Tigray began in November 2020 and resulted in untold civilian casualties, displaced over two million people, and left millions in need of humanitarian aid.

 Eritrea’s army supported Ethiopian forces during the federal government’s war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and has been accused of some of the conflict’s worst atrocities by the United States and rights groups.

A peace deal was signed in November 2021, calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces. However, there was no specific mention of Eritrea, whose regime considers the TPLF its enemy. Eritrean troops remain present in parts of Tigray and are accused by residents of murder, rape, and looting.

Afwerki’s response to continued troops presence 

When asked about the continued presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray, President Isaias stated that he had no intention of interfering in the matter and that the allegations were part of a disinformation campaign to derail the peace process in Ethiopia. 

He further stated that Eritrea should not be used as a pretext for the problems in Ethiopia or elsewhere in the region.

Human Rights Watch recently called for fresh sanctions against Eritrea, citing its “ruthless” conscription policy during the Tigray war. 

The organization accused Eritrea of rounding up thousands of people, including minors, for mandatory military service and setting up checkpoints nationwide to net recruits.

The devastating impact of the war in Tigray

The war in Tigray has had a devastating impact on the region and its people. Essential services such as communications, banking, and electricity are slowly being restored. 

However, the region still faces dire food, fuel, cash, and medicines shortages. Access to Tigray is restricted, making it impossible to verify the situation on the ground independently.

Ongoing withdrawal of Eritrean troops

The TPLF has announced that it has begun disarming, while the United States has reported an “ongoing withdrawal” of Eritrean troops from Tigray. 

A joint monitoring body has been established by the Prime Minister’s government and the TPLF to ensure all sides respect the peace deal and to address any violations.